There are times when a reviewer has to sit back and ask herself the most important question of them all - "Did I survive the latest work assignment with all my brains intact?" Okay not that. But this would be a more appropriate question - "Am I being too choosy?"
It's not like all of us have grown up on a staple celluloid diet consisting of only the pure grade 24-carat stuff. It's not like all of our weekends have been spent puzzling over Eisenstein's enigmatic montage cinema or over Satyajit Ray's eloquent use of the camera. No, we have had our fair share of cinema so cheesy that it congeals and blunts brain circuits which might otherwise have been sharper.
In fact this reviewer holds the unique distinction of having watched "Teri Meherbaniyan" and "Aunty No. 1" at least 4 times. So, yeah, in terms of being at home with corny and tacky films, this reviewer could have claimed that she's got it all sorted out.
But then again, Gullu Dada 4 was another experience altogether. For the most part of the movie, the reviewer kept wondering if there was some other elaborate cinematic metaphor being constructed through the replaying of the horrendously shot scenes of a band belting out old Hindi songs in shabby-looking function halls.
Surely, the trillion hours in the film that the protagonist Miya Bhai (Adnan Sajid Khan) spent trying to learn music from an anaemic looking ustaad must have had some greater bearing on the overall narrative? We can tell you that the lessons contributed nothing towards improving the lead actor's singing, because the frequent bouts of tonally inflicted aural torture that Miya Bhai indulged in never ceased to seem like abuse of the most excruciating kind.
Miya Bhai, a small-time gangster who terrorizes a whole colony of bovine peace-loving city people finds his heart taken hostage by the charms of aspiring singer Tarannum (Khushbu). The lass already has a suitor in the male vocalist (Aziz Nasser) of the band that she is the "mehfil ka shama" of. Meanwhile, another gangsta is harbouring dreams of getting the girl in the ghagra and have her croon the Fevicol song to him.
What follows is an epic disaster that tries to pass itself as a film where people are murmuring their measly dialogues and the female lead is bursting into tears the first chance that she gets.
Miya Bhai has his faithful entourage around him at all time, and this gang consists of a really irritating man trying to convince us that he is the obvious successor to Circuit and a reallllly tall guy trying to convince us that he is significant to the script at all. These two orbit Miya Bhai like his personal satellites or like overtly affectionate flies who have staked their claim on the most luscious sweetmeat in the stall. We were surprised Miya Bhai didn't try to swat them even once.
A film like this relies on comedy to make it somewhat bearable, right? That's what we thought too. But we didn't find the jokes funny.
Really, tell us what we are doing wrong. We don't think that the dialogues were funny at all, we didn't find the misogynsm as rib-tickling as some of the hooters in the hall seemed to, we thought that the men-dressed-in-drag was also terribly executed and shot. And even then, as people continued to holler and collapse in their seats around us, we kept on feeling that there was some inside joke which we weren't getting.
The only explanation for this could be that the film was just so bad that it was awesome. In the same way that director Ed Wood's films are still watched by people, and in the same way that people still turned up for RGV Ki Aag. Maybe there's a secret masochist, who can only find humor in situations which are painfully devoid of it, in each one of us. Maybe we are just perpetually bored, and anything that promises even momentary involvement is welcomed. Maybe we are all on our way to complete intellectual bankruptcy.
It is not every day that this reviewer has to make the arduous trip to Sapna theatre, where middle-aged men ogle her while she makes sense of films that people wouldn't normally watch without imbibing a recreational drug of choice well in advance and in copious quantities. It'd be nice to actually watch a movie that was worth all of this. Just saying.